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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Dec. 7, 2023

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Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown

Guillermo Raya Leon also accused of trafficking stolen property, more

By , Columbian staff reporter

Jury selection began Tuesday in the aggravated murder trial of the Salem, Ore., man accused of fatally shooting Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown.

Guillermo Raya Leon, 28, is also charged in Clark County Superior Court with first-degree trafficking in stolen property, first-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.

He is accused of shooting Brown on the evening of July 23, 2021, as Brown conducted surveillance in an unmarked Jeep SUV at an east Vancouver apartment complex. Law enforcement from several agencies were watching Guillermo Raya Leon; his brother, Abran Raya Leon, 30; and Abran Raya Leon’s wife, Misty Raya, 37, as part of an investigation into stolen firearms, court records say.

A jury found Abran Raya Leon guilty nearly three weeks ago of second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement, possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He was the getaway driver in the shooting and the first of the three co-defendants to be tried. Last week, a judge sentenced him to 27 years in prison.

Investigators say Misty Raya broke into a Hazel Dell storage unit in early June 2021 and stole dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. She has pleaded not guilty to second-degree felony murder, first-degree theft, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, three counts of second-degree burglary and 25 counts of theft of a firearm. Her trial is scheduled for Oct. 9.

Prosecutors argued in Abran Raya Leon’s trial that Guillermo Raya Leon fired first and that Jeremy Brown fired seven shots. Jurors in that case heard testimony about the events leading up to and following Brown’s shooting.

After the shooting, Abran Raya Leon drove his brother and wife away from the apartment complex in a Toyota SUV and evaded pursuing police. The SUV was found crashed and abandoned near Interstate 205 and Padden Parkway, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police found and arrested Abran Raya Leon and his wife later that night in the backyard of an unoccupied house in the 8700 block of Northeast 76th Avenue. Officers also located there the stolen revolver they believe Guillermo Raya Leon used to shoot Brown in the chest, court records say. Guillermo Raya Leon was later arrested in Salem, Ore.

A state’s witness list indicates prosecutors intend to call 74 witnesses, most of whom are law enforcement officers.

Jury selection is scheduled to continue this morning. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.

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